Added by on 2016-06-30

‘When you educate a girl, you educate a nation,’ according to Madame Antoinettte Agossou, Chairperson of Amoura Ishe Union, a women farmers’ association in Glazoue, Benin. Madame Agoussou is locally known as Maman NERICA, because of her attachment to improved rice varieties such as NERICA, which have made positive impacts on rice productivity and transformed the life of all the members of her association. In Africa women play a central role in farming, serving as the pillars of the continent’s agriculture. Almost eight out ten farmers producing staple food in Africa are women, which means they virtually feed Africa. Research has shown that when women generate income through farming, processing, and marketing of their goods, they produce high returns in the well-being of families and communities. In most parts of Africa, rice is primarily a women’s crop in the rainfed upland and lowland ecologies. Women provide the bulk of the labor to rice cultivation from sowing to weeding, harvesting, bird scaring and also processing and marketing. In view of their importance, AfricaRice, a leading rice research institute based in Benin, has been focusing on the needs of this section of farmers, which had been generally neglected by agricultural research in the past. Women farmers are invited to be part of the participatory varietal selection and their views are especially sought regarding new genetic materials. To improve rural women’s access to learning, several thousands of women farmers in Africa have been trained in rice cultivation, seed production and postharvest techniques, particularly through farmer learning videos, which have helped them improve the quality of their rice, increase their income and gain empowerment. AfricaRice and its partners are helping women farmers associations, such as the Amoura Ishe Union, to organize themselves into small community-based seed enterprises, supporting them with research products and linking […]

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